In photos, a first look at the luxury superyacht Uber Ritz-Carlton
With a sleek modern design, rich materials, plenty of lounge space, personalized service and a restaurant with menus designed by a three-Michelin-star chef – and after a nearly three-year delay – the first ship in the collection Ritz-Carlton Yacht is ready for its debut. The 298-passenger Evrima will carry its first guests on a seven-night cruise from Barcelona to Nice on October 15.
The blockage of construction in Spanish shipyards and supply chain problems exacerbated by the pandemic pushed back the launch date eight times. While thousands of passengers may have had their first reservations canceled or delayed, the ship remains one of the most anticipated luxury ships in years, especially among Ritz-Carlton goers.
“We are entering a space that we believe many affluent consumers have wanted to go to but haven’t had the brand to support them,” said Chris Gabaldon, senior vice president, luxury brands, for Marriott International Inc. millions of Ritz -Carlton customers are ready for the brand’s next innovation, and they are demonstrating, in terms of reservations, that they are ready to come with us.” Most bookings, Gabaldon adds, come from people who have never sailed before.
The founder and CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is Douglas Prothero, a longtime entrepreneur in the maritime industry, while the cruise line is a joint venture between the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company (under Marriott International) and Prothero’s Yacht Portfolio, a maritime investment group. Oaktree Capital Management LP is the main investor, and two additional 456-passenger yachts are on order from Chantiers de l’Atlantique in France, for delivery in 2024 and 2025. The owners are tight-lipped on construction costs.
Renowned Swedish maritime architecture and design firm Tillberg worked with a team from the hotel company to create a floating Ritz-Carlton hotel. “It brings the modern, casual luxury of The Ritz-Carlton to the sea,” says Prothero. “It’s not trying to be something on a cruise.”
Room to spread out
Guests stay in suites with higher ceilings than cruise ship standard, with king-size beds, double vanity bathrooms, and private outdoor “terraces” overlooking the sea. resort-like amenities such as a supervised Ritz Kids program with its own game room ($45 per three-hour session) and a Ritz-Carlton-operated spa with indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, plus indulgences such as a non-surgical facelift. The 623-foot ship has more space per passenger than any other luxury cruise ship, according to Prothero. “You can be as quiet as you want or gather in a crowd, and there are a number of ways to do that,” he says. At a secluded table for 10 you can host your own dinner party.
Water, water, everywhere
Guests can take in ocean views while sipping complimentary champagne on lounge chairs around the infinity pool or get even closer to the water’s edge on the Marina Terrace, where craft cocktails and light snacks will be served when the vessel is at anchor. From the marina there are paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks, sailboats and snorkeling gear to borrow. Four plunge pools scattered around Evrima provide more intimate opportunities for swimming with a view.
First class dinner
The Evrima Great Room, the yacht’s main restaurant, offers dishes inspired by the line’s destinations. A five-course tasting menu with wine and champagne pairings at SEA (Sven Elverfeld Aboard) was created by chef Sven Elverfeld of the three-star Michelin Aqua at the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany (and is accompanied by an additional $285 per person). At Talaat Nam Restaurant, dine indoors or out with Southeast Asian dishes or head to the sushi bar. Room service is available 24/7.
The ship’s indoor and outdoor observation deck on deck 10 is a social hub – a place to take in the views by day and to sip cocktails and enjoy live entertainment at night. Late at night, the space transforms into a nightclub, with the opportunity to dance under the stars. Evrima has its own jazz and classical musicians, and local artists will come on board to perform at select ports of call.
Ritz Carlton Service
Each suite on Evrima has access to a personal concierge for requests for a cup of coffee to help organize your shore excursions, as well as a separate concierge ashore to handle private experience requests and reservations at earth. The goal is the kind of personalized service you’d expect to find at a Ritz-Carlton hotel: The ship has almost as many crew members as guests, and Prothero says affiliation with the hotel company has helped to recruitment. “People who’ve been on luxury cruises are like, ‘OK, in 10 years I want to move ashore and if I work for the Ritz-Carlton, I can go work in a hotel,'” he says. “We were oversubscribed in all positions.”
Focus on destination
In her first year, Evrima sails the Mediterranean and the Caribbean on 7-10 night itineraries, following the crowds of yachtsmen to hotspots such as Ibiza, St. Tropez, Bequia and St. Barths. Overnight stays give time to play on land, and the emphasis is on out-of-the-ordinary shore excursions. For example, a visit to the Aruba Aloe establishment is followed by an aloe treatment at the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, while an evening excursion to Tenerife focuses on cocktail culture. Cruise fares start at $1,000 per person per night, although you can find sailings for less.
Major luxury cruise groups such as Seabourn (Carnival Corp.) and Silversea (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd) will not be the only competitors. Late last month, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced Four Seasons Yachts, three 190-passenger ships to be built by Italy’s Fincantieri, in partnership with Nadim Ashi, owner of Miami-based Fort Partners (Four Seasons Surf Club in Sunrise, Fla.), and Philip Levine, former mayor of Miami Beach. The first is expected at the end of 2025.
Members of the Marriott Bonvoy program can redeem 180,000 points for $1,000 in cruise fare savings, with increments of 90,000 points for $500 thereafter. It’s possible to pay for a 10-day cruise with around 2 million points, says Prothero. You will earn 5 points for every dollar spent on the cruise fare, as well as the hotel package rate for participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels booked through the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. There are also Elite Credits, and those with Elite status will receive perks such as an invitation to a special cocktail party and, depending on your membership status, free laundry.
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